DEAR ABBY: I'm writing from Littleton, Colo. Just the other day there was a shooting near my house in Columbine. Fortunately, I do not attend Columbine High because I attend school farther north. Still, many of my friends went there.
Almost immediately after the shooting, my school was on lockdown -- but as soon as I was let out, I went straight to my church. I was amazed at all of the people I found there. People who used to despise each other were hugging. People who never knew each other were talking. Although I was in a Catholic church, religion did not matter. There were rabbis, pastors and reverends. Buddhism and other religions were represented. Even atheists were there. It didn't matter who you were; we were all there as a community.
I spoke with people I never knew before and was deeply touched by their experiences. I ended up staying there for most of the night, and then returned and stayed there throughout the next day. I eventually learned that some of my friends were shot, which drew me even closer to the people I was with.
I just want to say a heartfelt thank-you to everyone who set aside their differences and helped us here in Littleton. -- VERY THANKFUL IN LITTLETON
DEAR THANKFUL: To you and to the other citizens of Littleton, I offer sympathy and prayers for recovery. The media brought your tragedy into millions of homes worldwide, and no one who witnessed the violence you experienced will remain untouched by it.
It's encouraging that your place of worship was where you sought refuge and comfort after leaving school, and that when you arrived you discovered the gathering to be ecumenical. Religion should bring people together, not divide them. As I have said in the past, a church is not a museum for saints -- it's a hospital for sinners. And I can think of no better place for wounded souls to begin healing.